Monday, August 31, 2009

Amazing Fruit Facts

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Carnivores Delight!

Roast Haus

Dad and I were near Northgate in San Rafael and thought it was time to try Roast Haus. The minute you open the door you see big roasted carcasses of various meats, and a lovely roast meat smell. There are a variety of things that can be ordered in addition to the roast meat plates.

Tuna Sandwich

There were no roast fish dishes, so I opted for a standard tuna sandwich on a sourdough roll. Everything was fresh, it was fine, but there was nothing special about it.

Corned Beef 'petite' plate

Dad ordered a Petit plate, which consist of your choice of meat and two sides. Dad chose the Corned Beef with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. It totally looked like something his German step-mother would have made, and many a dinner I had at her and Grandpa's home growing up. He must of liked it as he polished it all off. I myself wondered what a regular plate would be like as this one was far from petit in portion. It also came with a roll and butter.

The service was in cafeteria style so there is not much to comment on other than the line servers and cashier were very friendly. As a pesca-tarian it would be hard for me to visit often as the ONLY choices that weren't meat were tuna sandwich and tuna salad from what I could see. But I will have to come back for my Dad's sake as this is the kind of food he grew up on and I never cook.

Restaurant Inspection Results

Critical: 0
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: 4/28/2009

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Charming and cheerful

Amy's Cafe

What a transformation has occured! Amy's Cafe has transformed a space that was occupied by a formerly dreary looking donut joint into a light and airy cheerful place! I was so happy to see that it opened. The interior is black and white with some red accents.

Hot Chocolate

The first clue that I got about it having a Japanese flair was the lovely ceramic cup that my father's hot chocolate came in.


Then my cappuccino came in a nice set that also reminded me of Japan (deceptively as it doesn't occur to most people as something related to Japan).


The salad cinched it. Not only was it in a covered miso soup bowl, who else but the Japanese eat salad for breakfast?! The salad tasted great, very cold iceburg with a nice mild dressing, perhaps miso-based. The waiter solved the mystery by telling me that the chef spent five years in Japan in the restaurant industry.

Eggs Scramble with Smoked Salmon

My Eggs Scramble with Smoked Salmon transported me back to the days of having hotel breakfasts in Osaka or Tokyo at finer hotels. An American breakfast, with Japanese sensibility. Not only was it artfully arranged, it was delicious.

Plain Omelet

My father had the Plain Omelet and enjoyed it very much. I have to note for bagel connoisseurs that the bagels were more bready than dense and chewy. However this was perfect for my father who has difficulty with 'tough' bread. The chef came out and greeted us and we had fun speaking in Japanese. We decided I should come back so we can practice. How fun! And in typical Japanese fashion, he walked me and my Dad out all the way to the car, thanking us for our patronage. Charming and cheerful, and with delicious food! I'll be back for more than the Japanese practice!

Restaurant Inspection Results

Amy's Cafe has not yet been inspected.

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Friday, August 28, 2009


Tsukiji Sushi

I've followed Tsukiji Sushi from its possibility in Sausalito, all the way to its coming to Mill Valley. And about a month after its opening, I finally made it here. I was favorably impressed with the elegant ambiance they've created on the inside, and the polite and knowledgeable waitstaff that served me during lunch.

Miso Soup

Miso soup came quickly, and it was deliciously complex with just the right balance of dashi and miso.


I was surprised at the generous size of the salad that followed. It was well dressed in a typical Japanese mayonnaise based dressing. I thought it was a plus for the meal.

Chirashi Don

And then, what I was waiting for arrived, the Chirashi Don. It had a wide variety of fresh bites from the sea and beyond. It was a wonderfully artful and had the deft hand of a sushi master in the cut -- smooth, not grainy. I'm really happy to have another Japanese option so close to home!

Restaurant Inspection Results

Tsukiji Sushi has not yet been inspected.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Won many awards

Phyllis's Giant Burgers

One of the first things you notice when entering Phyllis' Giant Burgers in San Rafael are all the Pacific Sun awards hanging near the ceiling above the grill. Apparently Phyllis' burgers have been Marin favorites for many a year. Dad was in the mood for an All-American burger, so this was just the place.

Junior Hamburger

I knew that a 1/2 lb. giant burger would be too much for my 89 year old father, so ordered up a "Junior Burger" of a mere 1/4 lb. Remember when 1/4 lb. was big?! I asked them to not make it too high as my father would have a hard time eating it if it was. So this is what they served, and my Dad exclaimed "Now this is a GOOOD burger!"

Veggie Burger

I had the veggie burger with 'everything' but onions. Mine was quite carefully crafted (I watched), and put on a whole wheat bun. It was great as well.

French Fries

Dad and I shared an order of French Fries, which were hot and good, but not extra special.

Onion Rings

We also shared an order of the house made Onion Rings. These were quite fabulous! A crunchy exterior led to a generous slice of sweet and moist onion inside. The staff were quite friendly. It is a very casual venue, and there was a Giants game playing on a TV in the corner. There are also locations in Novato and Santa Rosa.

Restaurant Inspection Results

Critical: 0
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: 4/8/2009

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Local hot spot for Chinese and Japanese meals

King of the Roll II

Cookiecrumb recommended that I try the Chinese food at King of the Roll II in San Rafael some time ago. Unfortunately for Dad & I, the lunch menu doesn't include Chinese choices, and we didn't feel like the full dinner option. So we each tried a Japanese lunch special!

Miso Soup

Specials start with miso soup, and include a salad which came in the box with the meal. Unfortunately, this meal got off on the wrong foot with rather watery miso soup.

Chicken Teriyaki Lunch

Dad had the Teriyaki Chicken lunch special which came in a box, and included steamed fresh carrots and broccoli, along with the dark meat chicken teriyaki, rice and salad. The rice was more of a jasmine or basmati rather than a Japanese style medium grain. Dad enjoyed the meal, even the fresh and sweet orange slice. It looked attractive.

Tempura and Salmon Teriyaki Lunchbox

I ordered a combo lunch box with Tempura and Teriyaki Salmon. The salmon was rather lukewarm and sat in its box with unabsorbed teriyaki sauce sitting on top. The tempura had armor on it, very tough to bite through. The ingredients were top notch, my lunch offerings were just lacking in some technique. There was an Asian language being spoken in the back, that clearly wasn't Japanese, although the music playing was. The price was very reasonable, and the restaurant was quite busy during a weekday lunch. I believe it's a well-liked neighborhood favorite for its friendly and prompt service, and generous portions of fresh, hot food. I'll have to make a point to come in for dinner when the Chinese items are served since that was what was recommended to me. There is another King of the Roll in Larkspur.

Restaurant Inspection Results

Critical: 0
Noncritical: 1
Last inspected: 4/28/2009

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A tasty reunion


My friend Paul dropped in for a quick visit from Portland, so we had to enjoy one of his favorite places for brunch on Sunday last. And that was Comforts in San Anselmo. Paul was generally dismayed at the lack of Sunday crowds everywhere we went in Marin, however Comforts was bustling. We didn't have to wait for a seat luckily.

Gulf Shrimp Foo Young

I had to try the Gulf Shrimp Foo Young over Jasmine rice with a scone. The Gulf Shrimp Foo Young sounded so exotic! It is served frittata-style with shiitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, celery and a light soy-oyster sauce. It was tender and lovely taste-bud stirrer to open the day to adventure. It also had some fresh pineapple and honeydew on the side.

Applewood Smoked Bacon with Egg

Paul felt like something simpler - Applewood Smoked Bacon and Eggs. He was drawn to the bacon immediately when reading the menu. He had his eggs cooked hard and also had the jasmine rice and some sourdough toast. He enjoyed his dish as well. The service was friendly and prompt and we were made to feel right at home, comfortably!

Restaurant Inspection Results

Critical: 4
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: 10/6/2008

Previously reviewed:
November 29, 2007
October 21, 2006

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Tasty Glen Ellen BBQ


I went to Bluegrass Bar & Grill in Glen Ellen's Jack London Village a couple Saturday's ago with friends Linda, Yalda & Olivia. It was a beautiful day, and we had a choice of inside or out on the deck. However, seeing a few yellow jackets, we opted for the indoor choice.

Corn Muffin

And almost as soon as you sit down a basket of corn muffins arrives. Very tasty corn muffins I might add.

Grilled Ahi Tuna

I chose the Grilled Ahi Tuna sandwich, asking to substitute regular fries for the sweet potato fries. They were quite obliging. Besides the ahi tuna, the sandwich also had Asian Slaw, Wasabi Aioli all served up on a Basque Potato Bun.

Sweet Potato Fries

Linda had the same thing, although she opted to stay with the Sweet Potato Fries. We both loved our sandwiches!

Western Burger

Yalda went for the Western Burger. It looked pretty delectable too. Her burger was dressed with BBQ Sauce, topped with Bacon, Pickles, Red Onion and a Bluegrass Onion Ring. She had the House Made Fire Fries, cooled off a bit with some Blue Cheese dressing. While Miss Olivia, although having Chicken Tenders of her own, managed to snag bits off her companions plates. Smart girl. It was good food.

Wheel at Old Gris Mill

After dining, we wandered about the Jack London Village a bit, looking at the outside of the Old Gris Mill and admiring the water wheel. The restaurants surroundings are quite pleasant too.

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 0
Noncritical: 2
Last inspected: 8/18/2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I spied a new place!

Weezy's Burgers

I was visiting Scotty's Market in San Rafael on Friday, and noticed construction workers and general busy-ness at a small spot near the rear exit. I stopped and snapped this photo of the signage for Weezy's Burgers that expects to open soon!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Predictably tasty

Pasta Pomodoro

There are a lot of good coupon deals floating about at the moment. Recently there was an offer by Pasta Pomodoro for a buy one entree, get one free. At lunchtime, you buy one lunch special, and the other one comes free (equal or lesser value naturally). Dad and I took advantage of this to revisit Pasta Pomodoro in Mill Valley's Strawberry Village.

Foccia Bread

The focaccia bread came out promptly, and was fresh and the pairing with the pesto olive oil mixture was great.

Minestrone Soup

We both had a cup of the minestrone soup. The cup size is a normal restaurant's bowl. Pasta Pomodoro's Minestrone Soup is substantial enough to make a meal of with some of the focaccia bread.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

I had Ravioli di Magro as my main course. It was spinach and ricotta ravioli with the pomodoro sauce. It was hot, filling and the taste satisfied.

Steak Panini

Dad's eyes lit up as he glanced over the menu and saw the Steak Panini. Obviously, that's what he ordered, and it was so big, he had half at a subsequent meal at home. It looked quite good and the chef cooked it medium well, just as ordered. Pasta Pomodoro delivers consistent quality in a casual environment which can scale up to a bit dressier at the Mill Valley location. We enjoy our visits here!

Restaurant Inspection Results

Critical: 1
Noncritical: 1
Last inspected: 7/2/2009

Previously reviewed:
June 19, 2007

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Friday, August 21, 2009

More than it appears

Cafe Joel

I ran across Cafe Joël in Novato's Hamilton Field while I was browsing the net the other day and was quite impressed with the offerings. I had to put it on my list to try!

Hangar 6

It's a little bit hidden, around the corner from South Novato Library and in Hangar 6.

Cafe Joel signage

When you walk through the inner courtyard between buildings, you can soon recognize it with it's cheery welcome sign near the patio, and the "Cafe Joël" signage on the door.

Potato Leek Soup

After ordering from the friendly hostess, I sat outside on the patio and the soup I ordered came surprisingly quickly (along with the salad I ordered). I was impressed. It wasn't an over-milky under seasoned puree of leek and potatoes, but a well balanced blend of dairy, leek and potatoes. The waiter thoughtfully brought out salt & pepper with the soup 'just in case', however it didn't need a thing.

Grilled Salmon Salad

The Grilled Salmon Salad consisted of baby greens with asparagus and citrus/caper vinaigrette. Attention was paid to the presentation as well as the tasty caper-citrus vinaigrette. It was fresh, lovely and delicious. And the price was right at $9.95. This same salad would easily go for $15-$20 not so far south of here. I felt well-served and well-fed. In fact, after observing other food items coming out of this kitchen, I was convinced by the time I left that this Chef deserves a larger and more elegant venue to serve up his creations.

Restaurant Inspection Results

Critical: 0
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: 2/27/2009

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Delicious Irish

Johnny Foley's

I've been in some very un-tasty Irish places. And some stellar ones, such as Johnny Foley's in San Francisco. I went to meet a couple friends for dinner there, not intending to blog the visit, but the food was so compelling, I just had to document it!

Fish & Chips

The light was a bit low, but you can still get a good sense of the food that we tried. I had the Fish and Chips. This was Fresh Cod in Lager Batter with Coleslaw, Garden Peas, and Malt Vinegar Aioli. The peas were 'smashed' and it was an interesting texture. Overall, it was great and the portion such that I couldn't finish it.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Larry had the Traditional Style Corned Beef & Cabbage. It came with Mashed & Boiled Potatoes, Buttered Carrots, and Parsley Cream Sauce. The ultimate compliment, Larry said that it compared favorably to his mother's.

Vegetarian Irish Stew

Sachiko was fascinated by the Vegetarian Irish Stew. The waiter highly recommended it, and it was stellar. Sachiko gave me a bit to try. The mix of Portabello Mushrooms, Spinach, Asparagus, Barley, Mint, Mashed Potatoes, and Savory Vegetable Broth was heavenly. The service was prompt and friendly and we enjoyed our meal immensely.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reliable Pizza

Rocco's Pizza

Dad, Daniel & I had lunch yesterday at Rocco's Pizza & Pasta in Mill Valley. I had clipped a coupon from a ValPak set that came in the mail the other day for $6 off an XLarge pizza and thought it an opportune time to use it. The restaurant was clean and bright and the manager greeted us enthusiastically.

Mulit-vegetarian pizza

We gave him a very complicated order. Half Greek and half vegetarian, with a twist. Daniel hates black olives, so we asked all the black olives be put on half of each half. He got it. So the slightly strange appearance of the above pizza was our fault entirely. And we all agreed it was delicious! The crust was wonderful. It had spring and was a perfect foil for the toppings. If the menu seems vaguely familiar, it's because Rocco's is owned by the same person who owns Stephano's. The menu also includes some salads, sandwiches and pasta.

Restaurant Inspection Results

Critical: 1
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: 4/21/2009

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Slipped away

Peking Wok - Closed

Peking Wok in Mill Valley, although quite near to me seemed to have slipped away some time this spring without me noticing. The Peking Wok in San Rafael is still open, and it even has a website now. This was a nice go-to place for take out or a casual eat-in. I suspect most of the businesses in that mall are trying to hold on waiting for the new Whole Foods to open, when the foot traffic will exponentially increase.

Antigua Mexican Grill

Walking by there today, I notice a sign for a new place, Antigua Mexican Grill. And there were workers busily building out the interior! I'll be watching for this one to open...